The Unmistakable Evidence

That Pentecost Sunday immediately following Christ’s resurrection forever changed what Pentecost stood for. From this point forward, Christians who have encountered the Holy Spirit as those 120 followers of Jesus did now call themselves Pentecostal. (Check out Acts 2:1-12, 16, 22-24, 37-39.)

If you had been present on that day, there were three pieces of evidence you would have noticed:

  1. Wind—this is the Greek word pneuma, which is the same as the Hebrew word ruach. This is the impartation of the Spirit that brings a true life connection to the Trinity (Genesis 2:7). This power was foretold by Jesus when He promised, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8a). 
  1. Fire—this was foretold by John (Luke 3:16). This fire was to light up our witness to a dark world (Matthew 5:14-16). Again Jesus promised, “you will receive power to be My witnesses…” (Acts 1:8b). 
  1. Tongues—this fulfilled the promise of Jesus, “to be My witnesses…to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8c). 

Some have tried to call this speaking in tongues an “ecstatic utterance,” or just nonsensical gibberish. But notice the descriptions Luke gives: each one heard them speaking in his own language (v. 6), each of us hears them in his own native language (v. 8), and declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues (v. 11). Luke lists visitors from over 15 different places around the world that heard their native tongue being spoken by these native Galileans. Luke pointed out that these Spirit-baptized Christians spoke like this as the Spirit enabled them (v. 4b). 

Two types of vocabulary are happening here—language (vv. 6, 8), which is the Greek word dialektos, and tongues (vv. 4, 11), which is the Greek word glossa. 

Dialektos is a learned language. Glossa can also be learned, but it’s not something that one just casually picks up. The Greeks said glossa is “not a word of everyday speech but one belonging to dignified and elevated discourse.” The Greeks called glossa the language of prophets, wisemen, and philosophers.

“But,” you might say, “speaking in tongues sounds weird!” Yes, it does. As N.T. Wright said:

“God acts completely unexpectedly—as He always said He would.” 

Remember this—God is God. He is uncontainable, indefinable. If we can define Him, He is not God, but we are. He always does things “out of the box”—at least out of our box, not His! Like sending His Son born of a virgin, and empowering Jesus to restore sight to one born blind, and enabling Jesus to cure someone who contracted leprosy, and even reversing the laws of biology to bring Jesus back to life! 

So it’s not unexpected that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is accompanied by someone praising God in a dialect they have never learned. Speaking in tongues as the Spirit enables you is the unmistakable, objective, outward, initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. 

Jesus wants us to have rivers of living water flowing—bursting!—out of us. This living water can flow out of anyone who has the Spirit IN them! Don’t wait another day: be baptized in the Holy Spirit.

Please join me this Sunday as we consider some of the ongoing evidences in the life of someone baptized in the Holy Spirit. 

Links & Quotes

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“Then and there, here and now, more and more: This is how we must think about the Kingdom of God and our involvement in it.” —T.M. Moore

“What is the meaning of God sending His own Son, if less than salvation was intended; if less than Incarnation will do, less than blood, less than death, less than resurrection? Oh let us understand the greatness of God’s provision for us, and in that greatness, read at once our death and our life, our condemnation and our deliverance.” —Horatius Bonar

David Wilkerson says, “It is one thing to speak with what we think of as authority—in a loud, boisterous voice, seeming to have total control. But in God’s kingdom, authority is something altogether different. It’s something you have, not something you simply speak.” Read more in his post The Authority Of Jesus.

Wise words from N.T. Wright when it appears God isn’t at work.

GREAT NEWS: Hilton Hotels & Resorts has officially announced a change in policy and will remove all on-demand pornographic videos from the in-room entertainment services at all of its properties worldwide.

Parents, here is a really good list of Scripture verses to help your children memorize as they head back to school.

TrumpToShakespeare_edit-01Info We Trust has a unique way of analyzing the data from the first GOP debate. I love this!

[VIDEO] Dennis Prager make 5 outstanding arguments about the morality of abortion—

Links & Quotes

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“The Apostle Paul tells us that a temple of God, properly adorned and maintained, grows in unity and maturity in the Lord Jesus, as pastors and teachers equip church members to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-16). A building and other facilities can aid in this process, but they are not essential. Indeed, in many ways they can actually distract us from our task by so defining and confining what we do in the name of ministry that our endeavors consistently look more like the ways of the world than the work of the Lord, more like maintaining and maximizing an institution than seeking and advancing a Kingdom not of this world. … As we build our churches let us not lose sight of the fact that what matters most to the Lord is not the number, shape, and usability of the buildings we erect, but the health, growth, and ministries of the people in whom He has come to dwell.” —T.M. Moore

“When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.” —Anais Nin

“The Lord’s Prayer contains 56 words; the Gettysburg Address, 266; the Ten Commandments, 297; the Declaration of Independence, 300; and a recent U.S. government order setting the price of cabbage, 26,911. At the state level, over 250,000 bills are introduced each year. And 25,000 pass the legislatures to disappear into the labyrinths of the law.” —Al Ries and Jack Trout

“For some (even for some Christians), faith is best defined as ‘believing in something that lacks supporting evidence.’ But this is not the definition of faith that is presented on the pages of Christian Scripture.” Read more from J. Warner Wallace on how Christianity Promotes Rational (and Evidential) Exploration.

Frank Turek points out, “Remember, Moses was on the wrong side of the golden calf. And [Abraham] Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was on the wrong side of Dred Scott.…” In this post he shares why same-sex “marriage” proponents are on the wrong side of God, evolution and humanity.

[VIDEO] This 5-minute clip of noted New Testament scholar N.T. Wright on homosexuality is well worth your time—

My son tipped me off to a thought-provoking post on dating relationships: How Our Dating Culture As Already Broken Your Future Wife’s Heart.

There Is A God (book review)

There Is A GodIt’s a mark of a strong, confident person that can admit, “I was wrong. I made a mistake.” Anthony Flew is just such a strong man. His book is called There Is A God: How the world’s most notorious atheist changed his mind.

The one sentence summary of this book could be: Anthony Flew was a noted philosopher who concluded there was no God, but then was persuaded to rethink his position and came to a complete reversal. But that would sell his story short.

The real meat-and-potatoes of the book are the arguments which helped change Anthony Flew’s mind. This, I must warn you, is no easy reading. The arguments are so nuanced and metaphysical at times, that it really requires a careful reading. This was not a book I could speed read, because the chain of logic in the arguments was simply too good to miss anything.

I throughly appreciated the candor with which Flew shared his metamorphosis from atheist to Theist. The book also includes two appendices which address the current state of modern atheism, and an interview with N.T. Wright on Jesus being God Incarnate.

If you are ready to study some of the atheistic and theistic arguments that the brightest apologists for both viewpoints are presenting today, then this is the book for you! I thought the journey of discovery was fantastic and mind-expanding!

7 Quotes From “Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?”

Did Jesus Rise From The DeadDid Jesus Rise From The Dead? is an excellent apologetic for both the biblical skeptic and the biblical student. You can read my full book review by clicking here. Below are seven noteworthy quotes and one infographic from this fascinating book.

“One of the most noteworthy facts about the early Christian belief in Jesus’ resurrection was that it flourished in the very city where Jesus had been publicly crucified. So long as the inhabitants of Jerusalem thought that Jesus’ corpse lay in the tomb, few would have been prepared to believe such silliness as the claim that God had raised Jesus from the dead.”

“We have the extraordinary number of at least five independent sources for Jesus’ burial, some of which are extremely early. The Gospels describe Joseph as a rich man, a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin. As a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea is unlikely to be a Christian invention. The Sanhedrin was a sort of Jewish high court made up of seventy of the leading men of Judaism, which presided in Jerusalem. There was an understandable hostility among early Christians toward the Jewish Sanhe-drists, for Christians blamed the Sanhedrists for engineering a judicial murder of Jesus at the hands of the Romans. … Therefore, Jesus’ burial by Joseph is very probably historical, since it would be almost inexplicable why Christians would invent a story about a Jewish Sanhedrist who gives Jesus a proper burial.”

“Matthew is clearly working with an independent source, for he includes the story of the guard at the tomb, which is not derived from Mark and is unique to his Gospel; moreover, his comment that the rumor that the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body, ‘And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day,’ (Matthew 28:15) shows that the guard is not Matthew’s own creation, but was part of prior tradition. Luke also has an independent source, for he tells the story, not found in Mark, of two disciples’ inspecting the tomb to verify the women’s report that the tomb was vacant. This story cannot be regarded as Luke’s own creation, since the incident is independently reported in John’s Gospel. And, again, given John’s independence of the other three Gospels, we have yet another independent report of the empty tomb.”

Did Jesus Rise From The Dead infographic

(click image for a larger view)

“To appreciate how restrained Mark’s narrative is, we need only read the account in the second-century apocryphal Gospel of Peter. It describes Jesus’ triumphant exit from the tomb as a gigantic figure whose head reaches above the clouds, supported by giant angels, followed by a talking cross, heralded by a voice from heaven, and all witnessed by a Roman guard, the Jewish leaders, and a multitude of spectators! This is how real legends look: They’re richly decorated with theological and apologetical motifs. By contrast, Mark’s account is stark in its simplicity.”

“Think about that: ‘His disciples came by night and stole Him away’ [Matthew 28:13]. The Jewish authorities did not deny the fact that Jesus’ tomb was empty; instead they entangled themselves in a hopeless series of absurdities, trying to explain it away. In other words, the Jewish claim that the disciples stole the body presupposes that the body was, in fact, missing. Therefore, we have evidence from the very adversaries of the early Christian movement for the fact of the empty tomb.”

“All the followers of those first century messianic movements were fanatically committed to the cause…. But in no case right across the century before Jesus and the century after Him do we hear of any Jewish group saying that their executed leader had been raised from the dead, and he really was the Messiah after all.” —N.T. Wright

“A supernatural explanation of the empty tomb, the resurrection appearances, and the origin of the Christian faith is not contrived given the context of Jesus’ own unparalleled life, ministry, and personal claims.”

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